2016 is quickly becoming a tyrant of a year, taking the lives of our most beloved entertainers.
On Monday Gene Wilder died of complications as a result of Alzheimer’s at the age of 83, and he took with him a little piece of the world’s childhood.
Known for his madcap roles, most notably Dr Frankenstein and Willy Wonka, he brought children and adults’ imaginations to life with his softly spoken words.
In a 1979 interview, Wilder disclosed the real reason he went into comedy:
My mother got a heart attack when I was six years and the doctor told us that we should try to keep her happy and not get her too excited because she could die just like that…
At that point in my life...I think that if someone were reading my palm at that point in my life they would see a sharp curve…but whatever it was that was stirring inside of me got veered off toward trying to make her laugh. That's how I dealt with the pain I was feeling of not being able to fix her cracked heart.
If she peed in her pants…if a little pee pee came I knew I was going over big.
In the same interview, Wilder spoke about success, and what he said is as relevant now as it was then...
Be very careful what you want because you might get it. And I really believe in that a lot. You think all the time ‘if only I had…and then you say what? Money? Is that it? If only I were a movie star…if only I could get that girl; if only I could live in that house you should be very careful about what things you set your heart on meaning if you had that then happiness would come. Well you may get that and find that that’s not where the happiness lies.
You can watch the entire enchanting interview, below:
Gene Wilder was an actor whose eccentricities made him great; he was never normal, and thank goodness for that.